Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Patrick Griswold . Here’s that interview
About the interviewee
President and Founder
Why Africa Now!
Patrick has three-decades of business experience in Africa including being the CEO of a $40billion global company’s manufacturing subsidiary there (automotive parts giant – Continental Ag. of Germany). Patrick has also worked in China, India, Europe and the Americas. Patrick has degrees in accounting and business and was a founding member of one of the most influential CEO Roundtables in Africa.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
Why Africa Now is a boutique consulting firm that provides expert knowledge, advice, and on-the-ground support, for companies and investors prepared to participate on the continent with the most exciting economic growth on the planet – Africa.
In the USA we are based in Ohio and have offices in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. We have associates throughout Africa that are experts in various disciplines to support our clients.
We work with every size of company from small start -ups to Fortune 500.
What type and size of companies do you have as clients?
It is a broad range: renewable energy, software, FMCG, construction, medical, ICT and more. Some have ten employees and others are Fortune 500 multi-nationals.
What comes to mind when you see this topic?
Having been an executive with a global company, and now heading a small firm, I can clearly understand the challenges. For the most part, the ways to try and get into a C-suite have not changed. Either you have a network connection that can help you or you have to use conventional methods.
What are the best practices when it comes to this issue?
One key to getting C-suite attention, if you don’t have a direct connection, is to show up different. That means stand out, present your case in a very different way.
EXAMPLE: We sent an urgent FEDEX package to a CEO. Inside was a small DVD player with instruction for the CEO to simply push play and watch the five-minute video. The video was a lucrative proposal for their company to expand to Africa in precisely their sector. I know exactly what C-suite executives need in terms of information and we simply summarized it in video format (including film from Africa). In effect, our package leapfrogged all the other traditional correspondence on the executive’s desk, was opened and our proposal was escalated internally.
Therefore, it is better to stop sending glossy brochures and telling the C-suite how great you are and what you do. Instead send them a concise, firm proposal for new business (sales and profit growth) that will increase their shareholder value – and make the C-suite heroes.